Picture Alaska—her braided rivers and Arctic tundra, her tidal shorelines and thrashing salmon. Imagine flying over the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta with an inexperienced pilot, charging into an ever-changing rodeo of sky, clouds so thick it’s like flying through milk. Imagine Yup’ik elders whose humble behavior and reverence for their homeland teaches you more about living with intention than formal education ever could. Imagine learning that to practice deep listening is to practice silence. Imagine spending 21 days on a 42-foot trawler boating the Inside Passage.
Monica Devine’s new collection, Water Mask, captures these experiences alongside stories of New Mexico deserts, Wyoming horses, and family, making accessible through lyrical essays this remarkable American landscape.
In Water Mask, Monica Devine maps out a life in Alaska that explores issues of the human heart: fear, spiritual longing, memory, perception, loss and wonder. She skis woodland trails with her baby on her back, navigates sea ice with Beaufort Sea whalers, negotiates the deaths of her parents and endures the near loss of her cabin on the shape-shifting Copper River. In these captivating stories, Monica reflects on family, the importance of place, her work in Alaska Native villages, and more…all told against the background of a cold northern landscape that both rejects and beguiles.
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